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There are job cards, but no jobs under NREGS in Raichur district

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Sorry plight: The affected beneficiaries showing their blank job cards, in Raichur on Tuesday.
Sorry plight: The affected beneficiaries showing their blank job cards, in Raichur on Tuesday.

D.K. Kishan Rao

Of Rs. 41.75 crore received, Rs.7.37 crore has been spent on the scheme

Affected families have been staging a dharna since October 31

Team from National Council on NREGS to visit Raichur in December to review the situation

Raichur: Laxmamma from Thimmapur village under Kanihal Gram Panchayat in Lingsugur taluk, has no more than two acres of dry land. Sunflower cultivation on this piece of land has failed owing to pest attack.

Her survival depends on employment provided under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). She filed an application with the gram panchayat five months ago, but the authorities, except for issuing an identity card, have failed to provide her employment.

Laxmamma, whose husband is no more, cannot migrate to a city in search of a job because her only daughter is studying in the second standard in the village.

The situation of Gangamma of Ameengad village in Manvi taluk is similar, except that in her case her children have stopped studying and have migrated to Bangalore in search of work.

Mallamma, of Machpalli village under Gugal Gram Panchayat in Deodurga taluk, has five children. Her husband is no more. She finds herself in a hopeless situation because her crops of bajra, cotton and sesame have failed owing to lack of rainfall. All her children, dropouts at the primary school level, have been working as labourers in the fields.

Five months ago she filed an application at the gram panchayat seeking employment under the scheme. But the gram panchayat has failed to commence work stating that it has not received any funds.

Stories of this kind abound in rain-starved Raichur district. Thousands of poor families from rural areas have been facing difficulties even though they have been issued job cards and promised employment under NREGS.

According to official records, about two lakh people have filed their applications seeking employment under the scheme. Of these, 1.25 families have opened their bank accounts.

This year, the zilla panchayat has received about Rs. 41.75 crore for implementing NREGS in the district in addition to the previous year’s balance of Rs.10.15 crore. But the authorities concerned have not been able to provide employment to the needy. So far, it has spent only about Rs.7.37 crore.

The affected families, under the banner of Navajeevan Mahila Okkuta, an NGO, have been staging a dharna on the premises of the Deputy Commissioner’s office since October 31.

They plan to continue their agitation until their demands are met.

They have been demanding unemployment allowance and compensation against the delay in payment of wages and job cards to all applicants. They want wages credited directly to their bank accounts and employment for a minimum period of 100 days to all the registered beneficiaries in the district.

Abhaya Kumar of the okkuta told The Hindu on Tuesday that the Chief Executive Officer of the zilla panchayat, N.V. Prasad, who held a discussion with the officials concerned on Tuesday, had issued orders to the executive officers of five taluks panchayats to go through the complaints of the activists and submit a report to him by Tuesday evening so as to settle the demands.

He said that a three-member team from National Council on NREGS, including Aruna Roy, Jeandreez and Annieraja, was expected to visit Raichur in the last week of December to review the situation.

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